I can only apologise now for this blog as it may turn into a bit of a list of results, but these last few weeks have just flown by. I’ve been very busy and extremely lucky!
It started a few weeks ago at my favourite local county show, South of England. This is one of my top shows of the year, partly as it is only down the road and partly because it’s the show where I was awarded my first ever Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) ticket when I use to ride show ponies. However I haven’t managed to win there since, even though I have gone back every year and given it a good go!
This year it all changed when Chief (Moelview Chieftain) won the Welsh section B class picking up his HOYS ticket at his second attempt of the season. Although Chief hadn’t been long back from covering his mares, he never fails to let me down pulling out a foot perfect performance to win his class. It was just brilliant to get this in the bag so early on, especially after last year’s run of seconds.
I also had Windy (Shilstone Rocks North Westerly, pictured below) at the show, who, after spending some time also covering mares was a little spritely in his class. He then went off to do the in-hand classes, expertly shown by Oliver Burchell. After going M&M champion he went into the Cuddy, which sadly I missed seeing. I couldn’t quite believe the answer machine message I got from my mum saying he had taken the Cuddy ticket, qualifying him for the most prestigious in-hand championship at HOYS — what a day!
If at first you don’t succeed…
With Windy now qualified for the Cuddy, I was desperate to try and qualify him for HOYS in the ridden as well. We headed off to Lincoln County Show where I haven’t competed since I was about 15, but it was just as lovely as I remembered.
Windy got pulled in top of his class and I certainly had the nerves going when I headed out to do my show, especially as he is not always the most reliable. However he didn’t let me down pulling out a solid performance. I’m not going to lie, I was gutted when I got called out in second place dropping from the top spot and missing out on my ticket.
On the way home, a little frustrated, I told his owner Lynda that I should take him to Staffordshire County Show as we weren’t really doing any other qualifiers and I really wanted to give it another crack. Lynda duly entered and a week later on the Friday before the show I was sat at my desk with my head in my hands thinking ‘what have I done?!’, as I saw the journey of four hours flashing before me. Whichever way I Googled it, it wouldn’t get any shorter! Everyone was also away which meant I was left to truck it alone, dragging my other half along to keep me company.
It was a long journey, getting stuck on the dreaded M25, and when we arrived the classes were running pretty late. Thankfully, Windy definitely wasn’t tired from the journey, giving a nice Lipizzaner display as I got him off the lorry.
After borrowing Debbie Thomas to help me get on, I couldn’t get back off again (Windy is not always the best when it comes to getting on and off him), so it was down to my non-horsey no clue other half to attempt to brush a tail and put some oil on.
Whatever he did must have worked as we won a huge class, collecting our HOYS ticket which has been a little elusive for the past two years. It was a weird feeling being called forward as the winner as I had no-one around me to celebrate with and it did make me realise how much I enjoy showing as part of a team. However I was also quite proud that we had done it and the journey on the way home certainly flew! Windy is now officially a superstar getting both a ridden and in-hand HOYS tickets.
So two HOYS tickets within a few weeks with my boys how much luckier could I get?
Last weekend Mum and I headed off to our local Olympia qualifier with Jacob (Popsters Loaded Weapon, pictured top at Olympia previously) and with no expectations at all. We entered the SSADL second round qualifier for the in-hand veterans, with the idea if the judges liked him we might enter the ridden as well, which was the one I really wanted to do.
The in-hand was really hard work as we were on a deep surface, so I was thrilled when Jacob was called forward as the winner meaning we were in with a chance of getting the Olympia ticket.
Because we had won, I didn’t want to do the ridden as I thought there was no way I would win both. For once it was a good job I listened to my mum who went and entered me.
Jacob was in a really good mood and I was pleased with how he went, but the classes are so strong that when I got called out as the winner again I was really shocked. I then had to make the decision whether to go in ridden or in-hand for the championship. Without even thinking I knew I wanted to do the ridden. So it was then time to put our best foot forward and go for the championship.
With a place at Olympia at stake, it is pretty nerve-wracking, especially when they call you in reverse order of merit. When they called the reserve forward I couldn’t help it as I did a little air punch — Jacob and I were the champions! We are off to Oympia and I finally get to ride my boy around that ring! At 17-years-old he still makes my dreams come true and I cannot wait! Even the thought of all the rugs and riding in the dark isn’t putting me off right now.
So I imagine that’s all my excitement over for the year. I think I have used up all of my luck! What an amazing few weeks. I feel like the luckiest person and can’t thank everyone who helps me enough. I’m sure I will be back soon with tales of wrong legs and parting with ponies just to even it all out a bit!